Little things to get over feeling homesick

I use the same laundry detergent my mom uses.

Feeling homesick does not mean you are weak. In fact, according to one survey, 68% of first-year university students experience homesickness. It’s completely normal, and pretty much expected.

So how do you overcome it?

1. Focus on decorating your new place.

For me, it was kind of an odd solution: decorating! My place simply didn’t feel like home. But I realized staring at blank walls wasn’t helping. I felt like I was in a hotel rather than a home. So, I started hanging things and placing little knick-knacks around, and soon enough it felt more homey. I also tried to incorporate some decor that reminds me of where my parents live, things I know she might have in their home or related items.

2. Cook some traditional dishes from your hometown.

Get recipes from where you are from (either from parents, grandparents or a niche cookbook) and make that food. Invite your new friends over to share it, and bring it to any and all potlucks. My non-Indian friends love my biryani, and I never made it until I left India. Food is the best way to connect with your former home while simultaneously being more comfortable in your new home.

3. Learn Something New

Research has shown absent-mindedness is common in people dealing with homesickness. Studying a topic or learning every day will keep your mind active. No better time than this to start learning a new language, or begin that yoga/martial arts/online course you saw advertised in your favorite coffee shop the other day. Also, the more you can relate this learning activity to your host country, the better.

4. Document Your Positive Moments

Negative feelings have a tendency to snowball: you start off annoyed about a bus running late, and end up blaming an entire country and looking up the cheapest flights home. This is natural, but it can get out of control quickly if you allow it to.

So what’s the best way to counter the negative emotion avalanche effect? All together now: with positive emotions! If you’re feeling grumpy all the time, try carrying around a little notebook where you write down one nice thing every day. Keeping a record of things that make you smile will provide you with incontestable proof that there are positive aspects to where you live – so the next time you feel like everything is terrible, all you have to do is look at your notebook or camera to prove to yourself that plenty of things are actually pretty great.

5. Remember why you left

Clearly, you had a reason when you decided to leave your hometown. Whenever you’re feeling lost, keep that reason in mind.

By Ishita Sharma

Photo courtesy of Scott Webb on Unsplash

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